It was always going to be a momentous occasion when India hosted its first ever FIFA tournament. But even FIFA or the All India Football Federation (AIFF) would not have expected the U17 FIFA World Cup to notch up the kind of numbers that it did when India was awarded the prestigious age group tournament a few years ago.
The 2017 edition is now the tournament with the highest attendance. Another record it broke was, the most number of goals in any edition. The tournament represented a chance to enter history books for players and teams seeking glory.
What Challenges did the Teams Face at the U17 FIFA World Cup
Teams faced several challenges during the entire tournament. This included outsmarting opponents, player fatigue and other such issues. Fatigue is one of the biggest factors in a competition like the World Cup due to the travelling involved. Teams had to keep the players well rested and fresh despite the constant air travel involved. The U-17 champions England may have caught a lucky break when it came to travelling. Kolkata played host to six of their seven matches, including the semifinal. Guwahati was the original venue for the semifinal. However, complains of poor pitch conditions forced the venue change. A look at the distances travelled by all four teams which played seven matches — England 4429 kilometres, Spain 9265 kilometres, Brazil 3722 kilometres, Mali 8589 kilometres — tells you that fatigue might have had a substantial role to play in the tournament’s final and the 3rd place playoff.
All in all, the 2017 U17 FIFA World Cup can be classified as an all-round success. England many have won the Cup, but India can be credited for the entire show. Judging by the numbers, it definitely was the most successful tournament so far.